Tag Archive | "Japan"

Baseball Travel Plans for 2011


I have been debating for some time about where to travel this summer in order to see some baseball. Nothing is set in stone yet, because of my schedule at work being uncertain for later in the year.

The options:

1. Late July / Early August – I am thinking of taking off to Taiwan to check out baseball on the island. There are a lot of places they play and its a relatively cheap place to travel to.

2. Mid August – This is my first choice despite the cost. This would be a trip to the Osaka, Japan area. During this time I could check out the summer Koshien, which is the biggest high school tournament of the year. While there watching the games, there is also a chance to see some professional ball in the Osaka area.

3. Late November – Again this will take place in Taiwan, but to me it seems to be a bit bigger. This would be the Asia Series. This is a series of games between the winners of the professional leagues in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.

I am not sure which one I will pursue. Cost, time off, and other factors will have to be taken into consideration. I’ll be doing a lot of baseball travel around Korea, but I really want to get out and see some baseball in another country this year. This is a work in progress so we will have to wait and see where I can make it to.

Any thoughts on which one I should try to get to?

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Interesting Japanese Baseball Commercial


I love baseball commercials and over the course of time there have been some great ones. Nike had a great one with Chicks Dig the Long Ball. The Seattle Mariners have had some great ones as well over the course of time, but I have found a new one coming from the hotbed of baseball in Japan.  Hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think.

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40 by 40 Baseball Edition


A little over 2 years ago, wow how time flies, I came out with a 40 by 40 list. Of that list of 40 things I wanted to do by the age of 40 (yes I am getting old), 10 of them had to do with baseball. After 2 years I have only accomplished 1 of the 40 – #10. Volunteer at an orphanage.

My 10 items that dealt with baseball were:

1. See a World Baseball Classic game
2. See a World Series game
3. See 10 new MLB stadiums
4. Play a baseball game in a foreign country
5. See a baseball game in 5 foreign countries
6. Go to the European Baseball Championships
7. Throw out the 1st pitch at a baseball game
8. Go to the College World Series
9. Coach a baseball team in a foreign country for a game
10. Go to MLB spring training

I have decided to expand my list of 10 to 40 in anticipation of another year abroad as I dream of more and more travel. So here it goes. My expanded 40 by 40 Baseball Edition.

1. See a World Baseball Classic game
2. See a World Series game
3. See 10 new MLB stadiums
4. Play a baseball game in a foreign country
5. See a baseball game in 5 foreign countries (4 to go)
6. Go to the European Baseball Championships
7. Throw out the 1st pitch at a baseball game
8. Go to the College World Series
9. Coach a baseball team in a foreign country for a game
10. Go to MLB spring training
11. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
12. Watch a Braves/Mets game (my favorite and least favorite team)
13. Go to the Junior Worlds in Seoul in 2012
14. Watch a UT/Texas A&M game
15. See a high school state championship game
16. Watch a game at Rickwood Field
17. Watch a Cubs/Cardinals game
18. Visit the Korean Baseball Hall of Fame
19. Attend a minor league all-star game
20. See a game at the new stadium in Pensacola, FL
21. Watch a Cape Cod game
22. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Japan
23. Watch the midnight sun game in Alaska
24. Visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
25. Visit the Field of Dreams movie site
26. Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
27. Host a baseball podcast
28. Read the book Veeck as in Wreck
29. Read the book The Glory of Their Times
30. Attend the Little League World Series
31. Read the book The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento
32. Attend the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture
33. Visit the Ty Cobb Museum
34. Attend a Korean Series Game
35. Attend the Caribbean Series
36. Read the book The Catcher Was a Spy
37. Read the book Eight Men Out
38. See the Dodgers play the Giants
39. See the Red Sox play the Yankees
40. Watch an Arizona Fall League game

I don’t know how many of these I can accomplish in the next 5 1/2 years (wow I’ll be at 40 soon), but I am going to try to do as many as I can. I feel in the next year I can check off maybe 10. No matter how many I am able to do, it will be fun trying. What are the top things you want to see/do baseball wise? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Amazing Catch in Japan


This is simply one of the greatest catches in a baseball game….ever! It comes from Hiroshima Toyo Carp’s Masato Akamatsu. He performs a “Spiderman” like catch and amazes the crowd.

What do you think is the best catch of all time?

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Movie Review: Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball


Each year in Japan, 4,000 high schools compete for the national championship known as the “Koshien”.  They compete in regional tournaments for a chance to be one of 49 teams to make the “Koshien”. Kokoyakyu is a look at what 2 teams go through on their quest for the championship.

This movie, from PBS’s POV, follows 2 teams on their quest.  One team is a public high school in the Osaka area with the other being a private school that won the Koshien the previous year.  It’s a great look into the differences of the two types of schools and how baseball effects the rest of their daily lives. You get to see how hard it is for the public schools to compete on the same level as the private schools in terms of practice time, fields, and school work.

Not only do you get a look into how hard they practice and how dedicated they are, but you get to see other sides of the story.  Cheering is a big part of Asian athletics, and the cheer squads for the teams are no exception. They take their job very seriously and practice very hard. It’s nice to see more than just how things affect the baseball team, but seeing how the parents, the students, and the coaches are affected as well. There are some moving scenes where non-players are very emotional.

One thing I really liked about the movie was seeing how ritualistic, and on a certain level spiritualistic, the baseball culture is in Japan. When the season is over you see just how much the games mean to the players and coaches alike. There are some touching moments that I am not sure you would ever see in America. I guess that is one of the big attractions to the Asian cultures for me. They are extremely committed to excellence and their love of the games is so pure.  It’s great.

The movie also gives a look into just how difficult this tournament is and how important it is. I can’t think of a more difficult baseball tournament.  Perhaps this is why it is so well known, and it has only strengthened my desire to see some of the tournament.

I can’t stress how much I recommend this film.  I watched it on Hulu and I am sure it is still available there. The only complaint that I can think of is that is was too short.  It was only an hour long, but I understand it was made for TV, but I would have loved to see much more.

It’s a must see.  Go check out Hulu.com today.  Find it and watch it.  You will not be disappointed.

Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball

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